Local churches plan Easter events

Churches across Rochester will be celebrating Holy Week in many different ways, from outdoor services to orchestra performances to dramatic interpretations to long marches and more.

At Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester, Sunday's service will include some old favorites. Back this year are the orchestra and brass band, which will perform Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah's chorus.

"We skipped (Handel's Messiah) last year, but I think people will be excited to have it back," said the Rev. Michael Wuehler.

The orchestra will perform at 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., a youth choir will perform at the family Easter celebration. There will also be Holy Week services at 7 p.m. on Holy Thursday and 7 p.m. on Good Friday.

At 5 p.m. on Good Friday at St. Francis Catholic Church in Rochester, there will be a "Living Way of the Cross" program. The living Stations of the Cross program will be held outside, weather permitting. If it rains, the program will be moved inside the church's gymnasium.


On Easter Sunday at St. Francis, there will be two English services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. There will also be a Spanish service at noon and a Vietnamese service at 2 p.m.

At St. John's Catholic Church, there will be a Holy Thursday service at 7 p.m. and Good Friday services at 12:10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Margaret Kelsey, St. John's parish administrator, said rare activities such as Holy Thursday's ceremonial washing of the feet will take place during this week.

At 4 p.m. on Friday, St. John's Catholic Church will once again perform its Way of the Cross march from the city-county Government Center through the Peace Plaza to the church, at 11 Fourth Ave. S.W.

There will Easter Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. at St. John's. Saturday's Easter Vigil traditionally takes place after sundown. With Easter so late in the calendar year, the service will begin at 8 p.m., later than most years.

At Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, staff members have updated last year's well-received services.

"The Three Days: A Journey From the Upper Room to An Empty Tomb" program takes place from Thursday through Saturday. At 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, the first act, "Jesus Is Betrayed," begins. On Friday, the act, "Jesus Dies on The Cross," is performed at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Finally, on Saturday, the program, "A Journey from Death to Life," runs from 8-10 p.m. For a second straight year, Gloria Dei will use special effects, candlelight, video and amateur performers in its Saturday Easter Vigil service. The service will begin outside and travel throughout the church.

On Sunday, the church will once again have a ska band performing traditional Easter hymns at its Epic One Eight services at 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday.


"Last year was a blast," said the Rev. Dave Berg. "A lot of churches will use a brass choir, which lends itself to traditional music. We thought it would be interesting to reinterpret the music, and it was very well received."

At First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, the Easter Sunday service is titled "Awake." The family program aims to celebrate the resilience of life — in sacred story and song, in ancient myth and poetry, in the seasonal world around us and in human being.

The church's Maundy Thursday service, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is an interactive program showcasing parts of several religions.

What To Read Next
Get Local